2 more teams emerge as Knicks, Suns’ rivals in O.G. Anunoby pursuit

Jalen Brunson, New York Knicks

The New York Knicks are in for another dogfight for the NBA trade deadline’s top prize, similar to what transpired during last summer’s Donovan Mitchell’s sweepstakes.

Toronto Raptors’ 26-year-old two-way wing O.G. Anunoby is considered the best player available leading to the Feb. 9 trade deadline. But while the Knicks are widely believed to have offered three future first-round picks, the Raptors may be bidding their time until the deadline to get the best available offer.

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, two other teams have emerged to join the Anunoby pursuit.

“I’m told the Suns, the Knicks, they’re still teams to look at, but I would also pay attention to the Pelicans, the Pacers, they’ve also registered some interest in O.G. Anunoby from what I’ve told,” Charania said. “So there’s a group of four or five times that I think will continue to be involved as we get closer to the Feb. 9 trade deadline.”

Shams Charania via FanDuel TV

Like the Suns, the Pelicans are in a win-now window with stars similar to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who went all-in with Mitchell. Plus, they have all their first-round picks and the Los Angeles Lakers’ first-round pick (via the Anthony Davis trade) in the next draft.

A package of multiple first-round picks with center Jaxson Hayes and salary fillers could entice the center-starved Raptors.

On the other hand, the Pacers have three first-round picks in the next draft and their own first-round selections in the next six years. They have a top-12 protected first-round pick from the Boston Celtics (via the Malcolm Brogdon trade) and a top-14 protected first-round selection from the Cavaliers (via the Caris LeVert trade). They can build around Buddy Hield and multiple first-round picks.

Sportsnet Canada’s Michael Grange posited that the Pelicans, Memphis Grizzlies, and Denver Nuggets, if they join the Anunoby sweepstakes, could offer a better package than the Knicks.

“It’s widely believed the New York Knicks are the team that is prepared to offer three future first-round picks for Anunoby, but the quality of those picks isn’t exactly high-end: They have picks belonging to Dallas, Washington and Detroit that are top-10 protected, top-14 protected and top-18 protected, respectively. Not nothing, but the best case is one more chance in the Victor Wembanyama lottery than they are projected to have now. Otherwise, a pair of mid-to-late first-round picks aren’t likely to change the Raptors’ trajectory in the short-to-medium term. Teams such as Memphis and New Orleans have more attractive draft capital and better talent to deal. Denver could be a dark horse too.”

Michael Grange via Sportsnet Canada

With Anunoby’s market growing as the trade deadline approaches, it is increasingly likely the Knicks will end up staying put and saving their unprotected first-round picks for a star trade down the road.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

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